First Queensland state memorial for Indigenous service personnel unveiled

By Anna Macdonald

May 30, 2022

Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks during the unveiling of a memorial to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women at ANZAC Square in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

The Queensland government has unveiled in Brisbane its first memorial dedicated to Indigenous service people, during National Reconciliation Week.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Committee Queensland revealed the memorial on Friday at Brisbane’s ANZAC Square.

Designed by Wakka Wakka artist John Smith Gumbula and sculptor Liam Hardy, the memorial features figures representing four First Nations Army, Air Force, Navy, and Medical Services personnel. The four service people are in a triangle formation, back by two dancers representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

“Right throughout history, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders have served our nation courageously as members of Australia’s armed forces. It’s important their efforts are acknowledged,” the premier said.

Assistant minister to the premier for Veterans’ Affairs Bart Mellish emphasised the significance of the location of the memorial. 

“It’s been almost three decades since the last memorials were erected in Anzac Square,” Mellish said, “So today is a meaningful occasion which honours the many thousands of First Nations service men and women who, out of a common love for Australia, set aside differences, united cultures, and went to war on our behalf.”

The Anzac Square contains memorials to different personnel and is the location of the Shrine of Remembrance and Eternal Flame. It opened in 1930 to commemorate those lost during the Boer War.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships Craig Crawford added the memorial was a sign of the state’s commitment to Treaty with First Nations peoples.

“Military service requires significant sacrifice from serving members and their families, in wartime and in peace, and some have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“This memorial is a way of honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service men and women now and into the future, and I thank them for their service,” Crawford said. 

In 2015, a memorial to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island service people was opened in Sydney’s Hyde Park, titled Yininmadyemi – Thou didst let fall. The memorial consists of seven large bullets, created by artist Tony Albert. 


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